Post 32. June 16, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Could the Trump administration be pursuing herd immunity by “inaction”? “ If Fauci didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.”

to read Posts 1-32 in chronological order highlight and click on

“Supporters of President Donald Trump will soon be able to attend one of his signature, raucous campaign rallies again after a months long hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic — but first, they must agree not to sue the campaign if they contract the virus after the event.

But the fine print on the registration page for the June 19 event underscores the continued health risks associated with reviving the “Make America Great Again” rallies, which pack thousands of supporters into arenas for hours at a time — doors for next week’s rally open four hours before Trump is set to begin, for instance.

Right above a red “register” button on the page, the site includes a short disclaimer, informing attendees that “by clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.”

The disclaimer goes on to warn that by attending the rally, attendees and their guests “voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19” and agree not to hold the campaign, Tulsa’s BOK Center or a slew of other related parties “liable for any illness or injury.”

The page makes no mention of any social-distancing requirements or other safety precautions that will be in place at the rally, nor does it note the CDC’s recommendation that Americans wear face coverings while indoors in situations where social distancing might be difficult.” (A)

“President Trump plans to speak at the West Point Military Academy’s graduation this week, a White House spokesman said Tuesday — though the ceremony flouts Gov. Cuomo’s social distancing directives and more than a dozen cadets have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Spokesman Judd Deere said Trump’s commencement speech Saturday is about celebrating the “amazing accomplishments” of the roughly 1,000 cadets expected at West Point’s upstate New York campus.

The West Point event is at odds with Cuomo’s Sunday announcement that capacity for graduations in New York must be limited to 150 people due to the pandemic. The order also doesn’t take effect until June 26, so West Point is bucking the start date too.

However, West Point can skirt state orders since it’s not subject to New York law as a U.S. military facility.” (B)

“Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday evening tweeted, and then deleted, a photo showing a large group of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign staff not wearing face masks or social distancing, two recommendations of the coronavirus task force that Pence leads.

“Stopped by to see the great men and women of the Trump-Pence Team today!” the tweet read. “Thank you for all of the hard work, keep it up!”

The message was accompanied by a photo of Pence and the campaign staff giving a thumbs up sign.

Vice President Mike Pence on June 10: “Stopped by to see the great men and women of the Trump-Pence Team today!” Pence said in a tweet. “Thank you for all of the hard work, keep it up!”

The photo appeared to be from the campaign’s Arlington, Virginia, office — Pence was not scheduled to travel on Wednesday and had no public events on his schedule. In the photo, no one, including the vice president appeared to be wearing a face mask and the group far exceeded the 10-person gathering limit outlined in Virginia’s phase one coronavirus guidelines.” (C)

“President Trump announced Wednesday that he will resume his campaign rallies soon, and the gatherings will take place in a handful of states currently battling surges of new covid-19 infections.

His first rally in months is set for June 19 in Tulsa, which is located in a county that has reported a gradual uptick of new cases since the beginning of June. The president also mentioned campaign stops in states that have seen sharp increases in new cases and hospitalizations: Florida, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina.

Meanwhile, more than a dozen states are showing new highs in the number of positive coronavirus cases or hospitalizations, according to Washington Post data, a few weeks after lifting restrictions on most businesses and large gatherings.” (D)

“The White House’s top economic advisers on Friday shrugged off concerns of a potential “second wave” of the coronavirus, reflecting President Donald Trump’s eagerness to continue reopening broad swaths of the country even as cases of Covid-19 are spiking in more than a dozen states.

“There is no emergency. There is no second wave. I don’t know where that got started on Wall Street,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told “Fox & Friends.”

Kudlow previously claimed in late February that the federal government had “contained” the threat of a domestic coronavirus outbreak “pretty close to airtight” — an assessment which proved to be direly wrong.

Although Kudlow acknowledged Friday he is “not the health expert” within the administration, he said he had spoken with top public health officials “at some length” Thursday evening. “They are saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that. There is no second spike,” he said.

“What you do have is certain spots are seeing a little bit of a jump up. Some small metropolitan areas are seeing it. The CDC and the health people are all over it. They’ve sent some task forces out to deal with it,” Kudlow added, partly attributing increases in Covid-19 cases to expanded testing availability.

Kevin Hassett, another economic adviser to the White House, told Fox News he had spoken to Dr. Deborah Birx, the administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, earlier Friday morning, and conceded “there are some embers flaring up in a few places.”

Hassett specifically cited incoming data from Arizona and South Carolina as “some cause for concern,” but remained largely dismissive of the notion of a second wave of the coronavirus.

“For sure, the battle is not over,” he said. “But the trends that have been so positive in recent weeks, we’ve not deviated sharply from them — although there are some hot spots around the country.”” (E)

“When throngs of tourists and revelers left their homes over Memorial Day weekend, public health experts braced for a surge in coronavirus infections that could force a second round of painful shutdowns.

Two weeks later, that surge has hit places like Houston, Phoenix, South Carolina and Missouri. Week-over-week case counts are on the rise in half of all states. Only 16 states and the District of Columbia have seen their total case counts decline for two consecutive weeks.

But instead of new lockdowns to stop a second spike in cases, states are moving ahead with plans to allow most businesses to reopen, lifting stay-at-home orders and returning to something that resembles normal life.

“There is no — zero — discussion of re-tightening any measures to combat this trend. Instead, states are treating this as a one-way trip. That sets us up for a very dangerous fall, but potentially even for a dangerous summer,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development who oversaw the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance during the Obama administration.

The moves suggest that many Americans — anxious to end two-plus months of lockdowns, smarting from the devastating economic toll they have already suffered and focused on the social justice protests that have roiled the nation — are ready to put the coronavirus behind them.

Even as case curves bend upward again, little action has been taken to counter the reversal.

“There are places that I suspect a lot of people are shrugging their shoulders and just rushing forward,” said David Rubin, who runs the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “I just worry that they might lose control of their epidemic, and that’s what you have to worry about these days.”…

A virus once dismissed as not a serious threat to the nation and later acknowledged as a public health emergency is now becoming just another daily worry to be absorbed.

“One fear is that the U.S. will accept tens of thousands of deaths, as from gun violence, unlike other countries,” said Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the Obama administration.

“It’s not just lives. Unless we protect lives, we won’t get livelihoods back,” said Frieden, who now runs Resolve to Save Lives, a global health nonprofit.

The race to reopen comes even as new research shows the lockdowns were working. The dramatic steps Americans took to stop the virus saved an estimated 5 million infections through April 6, according to research by the Global Policy Lab at the University of California-Berkeley.”  (F)

“Protests aside, American officials at all levels of government seem completely oblivious to the situation in civilized countries or the arguments about test, track, and isolate. They reacted in blind panic to the pandemic, and then when it became costly to keep containment measures going, they are blindly relaxing them long before the virus has been controlled….

However, there is a darker possibility. Officials could be pursuing a different strategy to defeat the virus: herd immunity. If roughly two-thirds of the population contracts the virus (and if the resulting antibodies are both universal and long-lasting, which is not at all clear), then statistically the virus will not find enough new victims to perpetuate itself, and will eventually die out. The New York Times reports that even as Trump urges states to re-open, his own analysts behind the scenes are predicting 200,000 daily new cases and 3,000 deaths per day by the end of June — which is what someone pursuing a herd immunity strategy would do. The problem is that, as scientists Carl T. Bergstrom and Natalie Dean explain in the Times, it will take months for the statistics to shake out, and the eventual infection rate will rise well past two-thirds — likely about 80-90 percent. With a U.S. population of about 330 million and the most recent estimates of infection fatality rate of about 1 percent, that means something like 2.6 to 3 million Americans dying.

…Even if Trump is not actively aiming at herd immunity, there is no indication that he is even considering the test, track, and isolate option, let alone starting to construct the elaborate and efficient bureaucracy that would be needed. Neither is there any sign that he would be capable of doing such a thing even if he wanted to. Absent major developments, it seems highly likely we are going to keep bumping along with moderate levels of new infection for months or even years.” (G)

“As a mask-less Donald Trump moves full speed ahead to reopen the U.S. economy, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus response team’s leading expert, has seemingly been benched from TV. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director gave his last television news hit two and a half weeks ago, a CNN segment in which he shrugged off the critics “disagreeing” with his cautious approach and calling for his firing as just “part of the game.” Fauci added that he won’t let attacks stop him from relaying to the American people “information that I feel is necessary to make…prudent decisions” amid the global pandemic that has taken over 93,000 lives in the U.S. “I feel I have a moral obligation to give the kind of information that I am giving,” he said…

Fauci has instead been sent down to the minors, as it were. On Thursday, he made a cameo on actor Julia Roberts’s Instagram livestream, a relatively less-serious outlet that he nonetheless used to stress “that physical separation is working to a certain extent. So now is not the time to tempt fate and pull back completely.” (H)

“Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the most prominent members of the White House coronavirus task force, said on Monday that he has not spoken to or met with President Donald Trump in two weeks.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, added that that his contact with the President has become much less frequent.

Their last interaction was May 18, when Trump invited Fauci to provide medical context during a teleconference with the nation’s governors. The Task Force last met on May 28 and last held a White House press briefing on May 22.

News that the pair haven’t communicated in two weeks comes during a critical period in the US coronavirus response as all 50 states have relaxed social distancing measures even as the virus’ death toll continues to climb. As of Monday, at least 1.79 million Americans have contracted the virus and at least 104,300 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Throughout the pandemic, Fauci has been a rare source of frank honesty from within the White House coronavirus task force, holding firm with an at times overly optimistic President.

This was on full display last week when he called for a cautious approach to reopening the US and implored Americans to wear face masks in public, comments that are at odds with Trump’s push to have America quickly return to normalcy.

“I want to protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that that’s the kind of thing you should be doing,” Fauci said during an interview on CNN’s “Newsroom.”

But his willingness to refute Trump has garnered sustained criticism from the President’s allies in conservative media and fueled questions about the pair’s working relationship.”  (I)

“In a wide-ranging talk to biotech executives, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci delivered a grim assessment of the devastation wrought around the world by the coronavirus.

Covid-19 is the disease that Dr. Fauci always said would be his “worst nightmare” — a new, highly contagious respiratory infection that causes a significant amount of illness and death.

“In a period of four months, it has devastated the whole world,” Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Tuesday during a conference held by BIO, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. “And it isn’t over yet.”

His discussion with a moderator was conducted remotely and recorded for presentation to conference participants. Although he had known that an outbreak like this could occur, one aspect has surprised him, he said, and that is “how rapidly it just took over the planet.”

An efficiently transmitted disease can spread worldwide in six months or a year, but “this took about a month,” Dr. Fauci said. He attributed the rapid spread to the contagiousness of the virus, and to extensive world travel by infected people…

The differences, he said, include Covid’s broad range of severity, from no symptoms at all to critical illness and death, with lung damage, intense immune responses and clotting disorders that have caused strokes even in young people, as well as a separate inflammatory syndrome causing severe illness in some children.

“Oh my goodness,” Dr. Fauci said. “Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of really understanding.”” (J)

“White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said he has “no doubt” that Americans who aren’t wearing face masks, especially in large crowds, are increasing the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

“When you have crowds of people together and you have the lack of wearing a mask that increases the risk of there being transmissibility. I have no doubt about that,” he said during an interview Friday on CNBC’s “Halftime Report.” “When we see that not happening, there is a concern that that may actually propagate the further spread of infection.”

The comment came a day after CDC Director Robert Redfield told lawmakers he was worried Americans aren’t following the agency’s advice as states begin to reopen after shuttering businesses and limiting activities as part of social distancing measures intended to curb the spread of the virus.

Crowds of people, some without masks, have been seen in recent weeks at protests, over the Memorial Day holiday and, Redfield noted, at the SpaceX launch over the weekend.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

“We will continue to message as well we can,” Redfield told the House Appropriations Committee during a hearing on the coronavirus. “We’re going to encourage people that have the ability to require to wear masks when they are in their environment to continue to do that.”…

Fauci said earlier this week that there are at least four trials for potential vaccines that he is either directly or indirectly involved in. He said that by the beginning of 2021 “we hope to have” a couple million doses.

On Friday, Fauci said he hopes Americans won’t be “reluctant” to take the vaccine that could be potentially lifesaving.

“Unfortunately there’s … kind of a trend of anti-science and with that anti-vaccine in this country, which is really unfortunate, because for the most part it’s really based on misinformation,” he said. “But I would hope that as we get a vaccine available for us here in the United States and even worldwide, that given the potential and real seriousness of this outbreak now and in the future, that people will not be reluctant to take a vaccine that’s potential is lifesaving for them.”” (K)

““I don’t want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go,” said the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

He added that since cases are no longer exploding in many areas of the country, it is time to “seriously look” at reopening the economy.

He cautioned, however, that states should not rush reopening: “Please proceed with caution,” he said.

During a Senate hearing last week, Fauci warned of serious consequences if states ignore federal reopening guidelines and said that even in the “best of circumstances,” new cases will accompany relaxed restrictions.” (L)

“On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, returned from his media hiatus with two key interviews and a seemingly substantial change in tune. The scientist and member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, who has long been advocating a cautious approach to the country’s reopening, delivered some made-for-headline soundbites that raised lots of eyebrows, including his statement that extended stay-at-home orders could cause the U.S. ‘irreparable damage.’

“I don’t want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go,” Fauci to CNBC’s Meg Tirrell on the networks show Halftime Report.

Similarly, in an interview with NPR, Fauci sounded a bit more upbeat regarding a possible vaccine being available by the end of this year.

“I think it is conceivable, if we don’t run into things that are, as they say, unanticipated setbacks, that we could have a vaccine that we could be beginning to deploy at the end of this calendar year, December 2020, or into January, 2021,” he Fauci on NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Friday.

While both of the statements from the nation’s leading scientist give reason for optimism, the question remains: what has made Dr. Fauci sound more like White House talking points than the voice of candor that we have become accustomed to hearing?  Even as the nation continues to grapple with an uncontrolled pandemic that has killed over 96,000 Americans, Fauci’s comments about reopening sounded very similar to the messaging that President Trump and his allies have been pushing for the past several weeks about the need to more aggressively open the country.

Unsurprisingly Fox News and other conservative media outlets that have been critical of Dr. Fauci over the past several weeks jumped on the scientist’s assessment. “Extended stay-at-home orders could cause ‘irreparable damage’”screamed headlines on Fox’s website and across social media. The prevailing sense that Fauci had come to his senses seems to be the mood of many ‘reopen’ advocates, after weeks of Fauci being under fire from politicians, protestors, and conservative commentators…

In the effort to walk a tightrope between advocating health policy and navigating reelection politics, it wouldn’t be surprising if Fauci feels pressure to modulate his message in order dampen the partisan fires that have been building around him. But by doing so, he prompts an even more troubling question – is our science being sacrificed for soundbite politics? And if so, who are we to look to for scientific leadership in the next phase of the pandemic?

All eyes will be on Dr. Fauci during the coming days as an America that has endured a sobering spring tries to make sense of what the summer will bring. Will Fauci fall victim to partisan pressure or will he outfox those who would like to see him modify his message to the satisfaction of a President increasingly anxious about his reelection?

Not only does the country’s reopening hang in the balance, but so does Dr. Fauci’s credibility.” (M)

“Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, expressed support for the World Health Organization on Thursday in a significant break from President Donald Trump, who announced last month that the US would terminate its relationship with the world’s leading public health body.

“I’ve been dealing with the WHO now for four decades. I have a number of colleagues I have interacted with and continue to. I have a very good relationship with the director general of WHO,” Fauci told CBC News. “The WHO is an imperfect organization. It certainly has made some missteps, but it has also done a lot of good. The world needs a WHO.”

Trump’s decision to end the US’ relationship with the WHO amid a global pandemic drew quick criticism from both sides of the aisle. His move followed a years-long pattern of skepticism of world organizations, with the President claiming in nearly every circumstance that the US was being taken advantage of.

“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving, urgent global public health needs,” Trump said last month.

But Fauci said Thursday, “I would hope that we would continue to benefit from what the WHO can do — at the same time that they continue to improve themselves.”

His comments echo the message from the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, who said last week that his agency continues to collaborate closely with WHO, despite Trump’s statements.

“I feel confident that the public health partnership that we have — although it may be modified in some way at a political level — I don’t think it’s going to be modified in terms of our public health efforts,” Redfield said during a House Appropriations hearing on the Covid-19 response.”  (N)

“Although Fauci’s every utterance is now examined with the same care as pronouncements of the pope, his words weren’t exactly earth-shattering. He said that if there are careless reopenings, “we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks.” Does anyone doubt that’s a possibility?

No serious person would argue that there are no hazards to reopening, only that some level of risk is worth taking to begin to ease the nation’s economic calamity.

Fauci is an important voice in this debate, if only one voice. He is neither the dastardly bureaucratic mastermind imposing his will on the country that his detractors on the right make him out to be, or the philosopher-king in waiting that his boosters on the left inflate him into. He’s simply an epidemiologist, one who brings considerable expertise and experience to the table, but at the end of the day, his focus is inevitably and rightly quite narrow…

As a breed, epidemiologists tend to focus on the worst case. They don’t want to be wrong and contribute to some deadly pathogen getting loose when their entire job is to keep that from happening. So, they are naturally cautious. This, too, is as it should be. You probably don’t want a risk-taking epidemiologist any more than you want a highly creative, envelope-pushing accountant.

For all these reasons, you wouldn’t choose an epidemiologist to run your country, either. And Fauci isn’t.

Trump has remained completely undomesticated in the White House. The idea that he has now, as some of his supporters imply, been seduced, bullied or otherwise manipulated by a mild-mannered, nearly 80-year-old doctor is bonkers. The reason Trump issued his shutdown guidance was that the prospect of uncontrolled spread of the virus was too risky to contemplate.

Since populist critics of the shutdowns don’t want to criticize Trump, let alone say that they think he blew one of the most consequential decisions of his presidency, they focus their ire on the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases instead.

In the attention-getting exchange between Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and Fauci at the Senate hearing, both were right. Sen. Paul is obviously correct that we shouldn’t elevate one person as the authority to whom everyone submits, and Fauci was right that he’s a scientist who doesn’t even try to give advice on matters outside his ambit.

Part of the right’s hostility to Fauci is an understandable reaction to progressives putting him on a pedestal. His views should be taken seriously, but they can’t be determinative.

If Trump really did fire Fauci, some other meddlesome epidemiologist would emerge soon enough. If Fauci didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.” (O)

“In an interview with ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, Fauci said he understands the urge people have to participate in the political process. But he also said the safest bet is to avoid congregating in large groups.

“You know, it’s a danger to the people who are trying to control the demonstration,” he said of the recent political protests. “And it’s a danger to the people who are demonstrating. So at the end of the day, it is a risky procedure.”

When asked whether his advice also applies to Trump’s plans to resume campaign rallies next week, Fauci said yes: “I am consistent. I stick by what I say.”

The “best way that you can avoid — either acquiring or transmitting infection — is to avoid crowded places, to wear a mask whenever you’re outside. And if you can do both, avoid the congregation of people and do the mask, that’s great,” he said.

“If you’re going to be in a situation where — beyond your control there’s a lot of people around you — make sure you wear a mask,” he said. (P)

“Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a recent increase in coronavirus cases in a number of states is not necessarily a “second spike.”

“However, when you start to see increases in hospitalization, that’s a surefire situation that you’ve got to pay close attention to,” Fauci told CNN on Friday.

Fauci also said there may not be a so-called second wave of Covid-19 cases as some health experts are predicting.

“It is not inevitable that you will have a so-called ‘second wave’ in the fall or even a massive increase if you approach it in the proper way,” he said.” (Q)

“FAUCI:..New York is a big state, it is a heterogeneous State and parts of New York, particularly in areas such as in Buffalo and other Upstate areas have actually done reasonably well. What we’re doing right now, we’re seeing in New York is doing a careful, step-wise re-entry to trying to get normality, according to the guidelines. You know there’s a gateway guidelines. There’s the Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, so hopefully what will see is a return to normality in a careful, very measured way.”

2 ON YOUR SIDE: As we look around the country, we are seeing a spike in several states that have already reopened, while here in New York, where we have had a methodical, phased-in approach, we have not seen the same thing so far. What do you see from those numbers? Did we just peak earlier than them, or is a slower approach making a difference?

FAUCI: One of the things we need to be aware of and I think people get confused, but I think you are making a good point. Different parts of the country, we have a very large country that’s very heterogeneous. The difference even within a state between the metropolitan area and upper Upstate New York, between Detroit and Casper, Wyoming, between New Orleans and a place in Montana, so it really depends on what the level of infection is when you start going down.

And the dynamics are going down, and you get that slope going down, and you carefully reopen, you’re going to see some infections for sure because it hasn’t disappeared. It’s how you handle them that’s going to determine whether a little blips are actually going to turn into a resurgence, and I think that New York, you know, under the governor, under the mayor of the city, and the cities in Upstate New York area ware of the kind of things that you need to do with the physical separation. Continue to wear masks, continue to wash your hands, and when the cases come up, you do identification isolation and contact tracing, and you have the resources to do that, so hopefully you’ll be successfully able to make that gradual transition to opening up more and more.” (R)

“Anthony Fauci cautioned states on Friday to rethink their reopening strategies if they see increases in the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19, adding that although he hasn’t spoken to President Donald Trump about next week’s campaign rally in Oklahoma, he is urging everyone who attends to wear a mask.

“When you start seeing more hospitalizations, that’s a surefire sign that you’re in a situation where you’re going in the wrong direction,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” on Friday.

Many states have loosened restrictions that began in March to stop the spread of the virus. But the lack of a vaccine, as well as more people congregating in public places and recent protests for racial justice in major cities, has troubled experts. Since Memorial Day, the number of coronavirus hospitalizations has gone up in at least a dozen states, according to data CNN aggregated from the Covid Tracking Project from May 25 to June 9.

As states reopen, “you are going to see blips of infections” but identification, isolation and contact tracing are key, Fauci said Friday. He also warned states not to skip over some of the reopening guidelines the federal government has outlined.

“If you leapfrog over different phases, you increase the risk that you’re going to have the kind of resurgences that we’re seeing in certain of the states,” he said.” (S)

‘As people eagerly anticipate a return to the Before Time, without masks and with other people, Dr. Anthony Fauci has a reality check.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases spoke to the Telegraph about prospect of a second wave. “We were successful in suppressing the virus in cities where there were major outbreaks—New York, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans,” he explained. “But we’re seeing several states, as they try to reopen and get back to normal, starting to see early indications [that] infections are higher than previously.

He continued “The question is will they have the capability to do the appropriate and effective isolation, and contact tracing, to prevent this increase from becoming a full blown outbreak? I’m concerned it’s happening. I hope the individual states can blunt that. It [the virus] could go on for a couple of cycles, coming back and forth. I would hope to get to some degree of real normality within a year or so. But I don’t think it’s this winter or fall, we’ll be seeing it for a bit more.”

“It’s going to be really wait and see. I don’t think there’s going to be an immediate pull back for those kinds of restrictions,” Fauci emphasized. “My feeling, looking at what’s going on with the infection rate, I think it’s more likely measured in months rather than weeks… It is not inevitable that you will have a so-called ‘second wave’ in the fall, or even a massive increase, if you approach it in the proper way.’ “ (T)

“Of the United States’ most populous states where cases are on the rise, Florida reported its highest daily total of new cases on Friday, reaching 1,902 new cases. Texas hit its new daily high this week, while California, the nation’s most populous state, reported its highest daily total last week — although the state almost surpassed that record on Friday.

Several Southern states, most of which began easing social-distancing restrictions and reopening some businesses in late April or early May, are also seeing increasing cases. North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina and Arkansas all reported record highs in new cases on Friday, while Tennessee reported 20 new deaths, the state’s highest toll for one day.” (U)

“The public health community has for years known with certainty that another major pandemic was on the way, and then another one after that—not if but when. Mother Nature has always had the upper hand, and now she has at her disposal all the trappings of the modern world to extend her reach. The current crisis will eventually end, either when a vaccine is available or when enough of the global population has developed immunity (if lasting immunity is even possible), which would likely require some two-thirds of the total population to become infected. Neither of those ends will come quickly, and the human and economic costs in the meantime will be enormous.

Yet some future microbial outbreak will be bigger and deadlier still. In other words, this pandemic is probably not “the Big One,” the prospect of which haunts the nightmares of epidemiologists and public health officials everywhere. The next pandemic will most likely be a novel influenza virus with the same devastating impact as the pandemic of 1918, which circled the globe two and a half times over the course of more than a year, in recurring waves, killing many more people than the brutal and bloody war that preceded it.

Examining why the United States and the world are in this current crisis is thus not simply a matter of accountability or assigning blame. Just as this pandemic was in many ways foretold, the next one will be, as well. If the world doesn’t learn the right lessons from its failure to prepare and act on them with the speed, resources, and political and societal commitment they deserve, the toll next time could be considerably steeper. Terrible as it is, COVID-19 should serve as a warning of how much worse a pandemic could be—and spur the necessary action to contain an outbreak before it is again too late….

Microbes do not respect borders, and they manage to figure out workarounds to restrictions on international air travel.

A universal influenza vaccine would require a monumental scientific effort, on the scale of the billion-dollar annual investment that has gone into fighting HIV/AIDS. The price tag would be enormous, but since another population-devouring flu pandemic will surely visit itself on the globe at some point, the expense would be justified many times over. Such a vaccine would be the greatest public health triumph since the eradication of smallpox.

Of course, no single nation can fight a pandemic on its own. Microbes do not respect borders, and they manage to figure out workarounds to restrictions on international air travel. As the Nobel Prize–winning molecular biologist Joshua Lederberg warned, “The microbe that felled one child in a distant continent yesterday can reach yours today and seed a global pandemic tomorrow.” With that insight in mind, there should be a major, carefully coordinated disaster drill every year, similar to the military exercises the United States holds with its allies, but with a much broader range of partners. These should involve governments, public health and emergency-response institutions, and the major medically related manufacturing industries of various nations that will need to work together quickly when worldwide disease surveillance—another vital component of pandemic preparedness—recognizes an outbreak.

The world was able to eradicate smallpox, one of the great scourges of history, because the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, both committed to doing so, following an appeal at the 1958 convening of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO. Today’s tense geopolitics makes such a common commitment hard to achieve. But without it, there is little chance of adequate preparation for the next pandemic. The current global health architecture is far from sufficient. It has little hope of containing an even more threatening outbreak. Instead, something along the lines of NATO will be necessary—a public-health-oriented treaty organization with prepositioned supplies, a deployment blueprint, and an agreement among signatories that an epidemic outbreak in one country will be met with a coordinated and equally vigorous response by all. Such an organization could work in concert with the WHO and other existing institutions but act with greater speed, efficiency, and resources.

It is easy enough to dismiss warnings of another 1918-like pandemic: the next pandemic might not arise in our lifetimes, and by the time it does, science may have come up with robust medical countermeasures to contain it at lower human and economic cost. These are reasonable possibilities. But reasonable enough to collectively bet our lives on? History says otherwise.” (V)

Prequel

Part 13.. March 14, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “If I’m buying real estate in New York, I’ll listen to the President….If I’m asking about infectious diseases, I’m going to listen to Tony Fauci,”

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

16 Comments

  1. SMS

    | Reply

    I love looking through a post that can make people think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Post 32. June 16, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. Could the Trump administration be pursuing herd immunity by “inaction”? “ If Fauci didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.”"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.